International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Defense Lawyers Ask ICC Appeals Judges to Reduce Katanga’s Financial Liability in Reparations

Lawyers for former Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga have petitioned International Criminal Court (ICC) appeals judges to reduce the US$1 million order of reparations the former militia commander received earlier this year. They claim Katanga lacks the ability to pay and that the amount does not fairly reflect the role he played in the crimes for which he was convicted.

Katanga, a former leader of an armed militia that became known as the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri), was convicted in March 2014 of being an accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from a February 2003 attack on civilians in Bogoro village in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was sentenced to … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part Two): Why 44% of Community Members in Northern Uganda Are Not Following Ongwen’s Trial

Last week, the International Justice Monitor published the first part of a three part series presenting results from a rapid assessment conducted in September 2017. The assessment involved 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda and set out to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen. While 56% of the respondents consulted said they were following the trial, many of them also admitted that they were only following occasionally or on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% of the respondents said they were not following the trial at all. This second post in the series examines views from the participants who said they were not following the trial, and in particular, … Continue Reading

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High-Profile Molina Theissen Trial to Start in Guatemala in March 2018

The public trial in the high-profile Molina Theissen case will begin on March 1, 2018. The High Risk Court “C,” which will hear the case, notified the parties of this decision last week.

Last March, the pretrial judge charged five retired senior military officers with crimes against humanity for the illegal detention, torture, and rape of Emma Molina Theissen, and for the enforced disappearance of her 14-year-old brother, Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, in 1981.

The five officials, all retired, include two heavily decorated generals who were widely believed to be untouchable: former army chief of staff Benedicto Lucas García and Manuel Callejas y Callejas, former head of military intelligence and presumed leader of the Cofradía organized crime syndicate.

Benedicto Lucas García, retired general and former army chief … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part One): Survey Reveals That Over 56% of Community Members and CSO Representatives are Following Ongwen’s Trial

This article, the first in a series of three posts, uses results from a rapid assessment of 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda in September 2017 to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC). While 56% of respondents said they were following the trial, many of them admitted they were only following on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% said they were not following the trial at all, citing a variety of reasons ranging from busy schedules to a lack of interest because the trial is taking place far away from Uganda. The findings also revealed that radio is the most popular method by … Continue Reading

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M. Ntaganda réduit le nombre de ses témoins à quarante

L’ancien commandant rebelle congolais Bosco Ntaganda a réduit de 100 à 40 le nombre des témoins qu’il appellera à témoigner devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) à la suite du témoignage qu’il a apporté pour sa propre défense et qui a duré plusieurs semaines. Avant que M. Ntaganda ne commence son témoignage, les avocats de la défense ont déclaré qu’il réduirait de manière importante la plaidoirie si l’accusé était autorisé à témoigner pendant plusieurs semaines au début de la présentation des moyens de la défense.

Après la conclusion du témoignage de M. Ntaganda à la fin du mois dernier, ses avocats ont déposé une liste actualisée comprenant 40 témoins. La semaine dernière, les avocats ont indiqué qu’ils n’appelleraient plus aucun de ces témoins … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Slashes Number of His Witness to Forty

Former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda has reduced the number of witnesses he will call to testify at the International Criminal Court (ICC) from more than 100 to 40 following the weeks-long testimony he gave in his own defense. Before Ntaganda began his testimony, defense lawyers said they would make their case significantly shorter if the accused was allowed to testify for several weeks at the start of the defense case.

Following the completion of Ntaganda’s testimony at the end of last month, his lawyers filed an updated list that comprises 40 witnesses. Last week, the lawyers said they would no longer call one of those witnesses (D-214). Meanwhile, the defense asked judges to allow the addition of two individuals, Witness … Continue Reading

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Community Members React to ICC Witness’s Testimony That He Did Not Know of Atrocities by Ugandan Government Soldiers

On October 3, the director of legal services at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Nabaasa Kanyogonya, denied knowledge of allegations that military commanders of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) committed atrocities in northern Uganda. This was in response to a question by Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer for Dominic Ongwen, asking him to “confirm to the court whether there were hues and cries about incidents of indiscipline of UPDF officers in the prosecution of the war against the LRA.” Kanyogonya responded, “I do not know of any commanders of the UPDF committing atrocities in the war against the LRA.” This article presents reactions to Kanyogonya’s testimony in the community in northern Uganda.

Kanyogonya made the comments … Continue Reading

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The Guatemala Genocide Trial Resumes

The criminal trial against former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his former intelligence chief Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez resumed on October 13. As previously reported by International Justice Monitor, High Risk Court “B,” composed of presiding judge María Eugenia Castellanos Cruz and judges Sara Gricelda Yoc Yoc and Jaime Delmar González Marín, has separated the trial into two distinct proceedings.

Guatemalan law has special provisions for individuals who, like the retired general, were mentally competent at the time of the alleged crimes but currently lack the mental capacity to face a trial. Thus, the court heard the case against Ríos Montt, who was not present and was represented only by his lawyers, behind closed doors. The same tribunal heard the case against … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda’s Trial at the ICC Stalls Due to Unavailability of Defense Witnesses

The trial of former Congolese rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has stalled due to the unavailability of defense witnesses. At the end of Thursday’s hearing, Presiding Judge Robert Fremr announced that “it was not clear” whether proceedings in the trial would continue as scheduled following an email from the defense detailing challenges in getting witnesses to appear before the court.

According to the email, “due to events beyond its control,” the defense was unable to finalize review of evidence to be provided by an upcoming witness, referred to in court as Witness D-017. As such, the defense was not in a position to refer the witness to the court’s Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) on Friday, … Continue Reading

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Le procès Ntaganda qui se tient devant la CPI marque une pause en raison de l’indisponibilité des témoins de la défense

Le procès de l’ancien commandant rebelle congolais Bosco Ntaganda qui se déroule actuellement devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) marque une pause en raison de l’indisponibilité de témoins de la défense. À la fin de l’audience de jeudi, le juge président Robert Fremr a annoncé « qu’il n’était pas clair » si le procès se poursuivrait comme prévu à la suite d’un e-mail de la défense détaillant les défis rencontrés pour obtenir que les témoins comparaissent devant la Cour.

Selon cet e-mail, « en raison d’événements imprévisibles », la défense n’était pas en mesure de finaliser l’examen des éléments de preuve devant être fournis par un futur témoin, comparaissant en audience sous le nom de témoin D-017. Ainsi, la défense n’a pas été en mesure … Continue Reading

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